Ohio State halts athletic workouts after undisclosed number of positive COVID-19 tests

By Nathan Baird - cleveland.com

COLUMBUS — Ohio State became the latest athletic program to experience a COVID-19 related setback in its effort to resume athletic activities.

The athletic department announced Wednesday evening it has suspended all voluntary workouts following an undisclosed number of positive results in its latest round of COVID-19 testing. In keeping with its previously-announced policy, OSU said it will not disclose the details of those test results even in terms of numbers.

According to an OSU spokesperson, the pause is open-ended, for now.

The pause most prominently affects football but also stops workouts for men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Football players began returning for voluntary workouts on June 8, with other sports following in the succeeding weeks.

Athletes underwent COVID-19 testing prior to being allowed to resume those workouts, per OSU. They also had to sign the “Buckeye Acknowledgement and Pledge,” which OSU said was meant to emphasize that athletes must remain diligent outside of the athletics facilities to reduce risk of exposure for themselves and their teammates.

Ohio State had been one of the first Big Ten programs to resume voluntary workouts, and is now the first known program to shut down those workouts due to testing results.

Ohio State said athletes who test positive for COVID-19 will self-isolate for 14 days and receive daily symptom checkups from the OSU medical staff. Athletes who live alone will isolate in their residences. Those who have roommates will isolate in a room on campus.

North Carolina announced earlier Wednesday that it was halting workouts, joining several other athletic departments which have done the same. In that case, the Orange County Health Department identified UNC as a “cluster” for COVID-19. Out of 429 athletes, coaches and staff members tested, 37 tested positive for the coronavirus.

Also on Wednesday, the Ivy League announced it would not have sports competitions this fall but did not rule out holding those sports in the spring, instead.

Ohio State has not disclosed whether its positive tests were isolated to a few cases or were more widespread.

Ohio State football is scheduled to open its season Sept. 5 against Bowling Green. The NCAA set up a six-week schedule that allows teams whose seasons begin that weekend to start mandatory workouts on July 13. The typical 29-day preseason camp schedule — a five-day acclimatization period followed by up to 25 on-field practices — is supposed to begin Aug. 7.


By Nathan Baird


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